Feel it, live it: immersive art

Lise Arlot
Feral Horses | Blog
3 min readAug 2, 2017

--

The medium in which contemporary artists manage to engage a once passive audience through artistic total-body immersion.

The rain room is a water-based art installation created by rAndom International in 2012.

One normally goes to a gallery or to a museum to enjoy art. Besides the artistic merits of the institutions that host these events, the rooms displaying the pieces of art tend to look terribly ‘naked’ and standardised, arguably to draw the visitors’ attention to the real protagonist of such a setting, the artworks.

But let’s play a game now: think about the most memorable exhibition among those recently visited. Was it just a collection of artworks? Or was it a comprehensive immersive experience, with sounds, lights, special layouts and even thought out smells?

The questions above seem almost rhetorical considering the world we live in. The latest technology has enabled everyone to feel much more included and to enhance the experience of many activities/realities that were obscure to the masses beforehand. Artists have jumped at the opportunity to push boundaries, to explore combinations that had never been considered before.

The outcome of this brave act is not made of single artworks but of complex and interactive installations, in which the visitors are completely immersed engaging both their bodies and minds. Pioneers of these all-encompassing ‘art experiences’ are world known artists now: just think of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms or of the more technologically and architecturally advanced installations by Tomás Saraceno. Not a bad intro to immersive art, huh?

The media used by immersive artists have become more and more experimental and intrepid; they may involve sensors, 3D scans, temperature detectors, virtual and augmented reality devices which play on the audiences’ reaction to the experienced installations. The goal is always to allow the spectator to feel the representation, thanks to situations we live vs spectacles we watch.

Audiences nowadays expect a certain razzmatazz not only when going shopping or when going on holiday: they also need art that pushes them far enough to feel a new experience. Because by enjoying art in a more proactive way, we all feel more included in the art-making process.

When having an informal chat with creative director Grant Dudson, whose wonderful immersive art installations have been commissioned by brands like Jaguar, Ford and HP, immersive art is the hottest topic of conversation.

Grant easily sustains that between an immersive art installation and a plain vanilla art gallery, visitors will flock naturally towards the most intriguing and interactive one: it is a no brainer. Why? Because, he explains, people love space and love the feeling they get from being in a certain environment.

This is the reason why we may spend a fortune just to be on the nicest Hawaiian beach or among the tallest American skyscrapers. Environments intrigue, excite, scare, engage, relax people. And isn’t art all about communicating the same emotions to people through some sort of medium?

Grant who you can contact via Instagram @immersiveartgallery knows very well, this is his job after all, and with the perfect execution, immersive art installations are able to communicate sentiment and perception even better than words. This is even more evident as technology allows us to collect very rich data of the audiences’ reactions during the performances themselves, making it possible to fine tune the installation along the way.

And if we think about how fast technological advancement has taken place and how data can now be so easily collected, who knows what impressive projects people might deliver in the future. Maybe we will be able to reach the impossible, to do what every art enthusiast really longs for: getting into the mind of the artist.

Ford Fiesta Experiential Press Launch by Grant Dudson in collaboration with Mansfield Design

For more immersive art follow @immersiveartgallery on Instagram.

By Lise Arlot — Marketing Director of Feral Horses

--

--

Lise Arlot
Feral Horses | Blog

Co-founder & Art Director @feralhorses I source and place artworks that are co-owned by hundreds of people in art institutions 🏺🖼️